Work With Us
PUFFIN is a university scale pulsed-power facility, which provides hands-on training for the next generation of experts in high-energy-density science. We work with intense currents, high voltages, strong magnetic fields, high-powered lasers, and custom-built optical setups to create and measure exotic states of matter which do not occur naturally on Earth.
We welcome undergraduate students at MIT through the UROP scheme, and undergraduates from outside MIT through the MIT Summer Research Program. This program is aimed at providing opportunities for research to undergraduates from under-represented groups.
Graduate admissions at MIT are handled at the departmental level—Prof. Hare is a member of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department, and can review applications made to this department. We particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups in plasma physics, including first generation students, women, members of the LGBT+ community, and members of under-represented ethnic minorities.
Currently we have no vacancies for post-doctoral researchers. However, if you are considering applying for an external fellowship and would like to work on PUFFIN, please get in contact so that we can discuss this further.
Please contact Prof. Hare via email (email@example.com) you have any questions about research opportunities.
If you are interested in working with us, check the UROP page at https://nurop.scripts.mit.edu/UROP/ to see all available projects in the NSE department.
Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process in plasma physics, which breaks and reforms magnetic field lines, converting magnetic energy into heat and kinetic energy. The change in magnetic topology can also unleash dramatic events such as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from the Sun, or lead to the devastating sawtooth instability in a magnetic fusion reactor.
Recently, the PUFFIN team carried out magnetic reconnection experiments on the MAIZE pulsed-power generator at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. These experiments generated a vast amount of data, and this project is to help with the data analysis. Working with a graduate student, you will learn about plasma physics and plasma diagnostics, and contribute to a cutting edge research project which aims to understand magnetic reconnection at a fundamental level.
An interferogram made using a pulsed infra-red laser during a magnetic reconnection experiment
The new PUFFIN pulsed-power facility under construction at MIT will use intense electrical currents to produce dense plasmas and strong magnetic fields, which interact to create supersonic, magnetized plasma flows. When these flows collide with each other or solid obstacles, they produce extreme conditions which can help us learn about astrophysical plasmas, such as the highly collimated jets from Young Stellar Objects.
One simple but versatile diagnostic for studying these plasmas is the "b-dot" or inductive probe, a tiny loop of wire which is immersed in the plasma flow and measures the temporal rate of change of the magnetic field. This project aims to design, construct and test a small scale pulser (~1 kA peak current, ~100 ns rise time) which can generate a sufficiently large and rapidly varying magnetic field for calibrating b-dot probes for use on PUFFIN and other pulsed-power facilities around the world.
A B-dot probe (left, orange/brown rod) prior to an experiment on the MAIZE pulsed-power facility at the University of Michigan.